SINGAPORE - Organisations that engage waste management services should continue to pay service providers appropriately and exercise restraint in penalising them, in order to ensure that the sector remains sustainable amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
These were among the recommendations made in a tripartite advisory issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) on Tuesday (May 26).
It added that service buyers play a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of waste management service providers, as well as the sector as a whole.
Therefore, reasonable business arrangements have to be made to enable service providers to continue employing their workers and retain their capabilities during the circuit breaker period, or in an economic downturn.
Service buyers are recommended to pay providers according to their contractual terms if there is no change in waste management services required.
They should also refrain from asking for reduced contract fees on the basis that service providers are receiving assistance from the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme, which is intended to help enterprises retain their local employees during this period of economic uncertainty.
If there are significant changes in the waste management services required - such as rising need for additional services, or there being minimal services needed as a result of temporary closures, buyers and service providers should reach a mutually agreed revision to payments for the new service levels.
In addition, the advisory called on buyers to refrain from penalising service providers where possible, and to be understanding if there should be any shortfall in service levels due to uncontrollable circumstances.
Service buyers are also reminded to maintain some baseline level of waste management services despite facing reduced footfall, so as to ensure that their businesses will be able to resume operations without health or environmental hazards.
Waste management service providers are encouraged to remunerate their staff appropriately, such as by increasing the wages or allowances of those who face higher workloads, in recognition of the additional exposure which they face when collecting, handling and disposing waste.
Similarly, those with reduced workloads should be paid in accordance with previous advisories relating to salary and leave arrangements, including the Jobs Support Scheme which allows firms to receive up to 75 per cent of wage support during the circuit breaker period.
Service providers are also encouraged to send their staff, particularly those with decreased workloads, for training and upskilling.